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rity of those times, he most villanously im. peached one of them, whose name was --Headach, (a man well reputed amongst his neighbours,) of having spoken treasonable words, and thereby brought the man in danger of losing both his estate and life ; had not a seasonable discovery of his abominable practices elsewhere, imprinting terror, the effect of guilt upon him, caused him to fly both out of the court and country; at that very instant of time, when the honest man stood at the bar, ready to be arraigned upon his false accusation.
This his false charge against that Baptist, left him no further room to play the hypocrite in those parts. Off therefore go his cloak and vizor. And now he openly appears, in his proper colours, to disturb the assemblies of God's people; which was indeed the very end for which the design at first was laid.
But because the law provided, That a con. viction' must be grounded upon the oaths of two witnesses, it was needful for him, in order to the carrying on his intended mischief, to find out an associate, who might be both sordid enough for such an employment, and vicious enough to be his companion.
This was not an easy task, yet he found out one; who had already given an experiment of his readiness to take other men's goods ; being not long before released out of Alesbury gaol, where he very narrowly escaped the gallows, for having stolen a cow.
The names of these fellows being yet un. known in that part of the country where they began their work, the former by the general voice of the country was called the Trepan, the latter the Informer; and from the colour of his hair, Red-head. But in a little time the Trepan called himself John Poulter, adding withal, that judge Morton used to call him John for the king; and that the archbishop of Canterbury had given him a deaconry. That his name was indeed John Poulter, the reputed son of one Poulter, a butcher in Salisbury, and that he had long since been there branded for a fellow egregiously wicked and debauched, we were assured by the testimony of a young man then living in Amersham, who both was his countryman and had known him in Salisa bury, as well as by a letter from an inhabitant of that place, to whom his course of life had been well known.
His comrade, who for some time was only called the Informer, was named Ralph Lacy of Risborough, and sirnamed the Cow-stealer. 1
These agreed between themselves where to make their first onset, which was to be, and was, on the meeting of the people called Quakers, then holden at the house of William Russell, called Jourden's, in the parish of GilesChalfont, in the county of Bucks; that which was wanting to their accommodation, was a
place of harbour fit for such beasts of prey to · Turk in ; for assistance wherein, recourse was had to parson Philips; none being so ready,
none so willing, none so able to help them
- A friend he had in a corner, a widow-woman, not long before one of his parishioners. Her name was Anne Dell, and at that time she lived at a farm called Whites, a by-place in the parish of Beconsfield, whither she removed from Hitchindon. To her these fellows were recommended, by her old friend the parson. She with all readiness, received them ; her house was at all times open to them ; what she had was at their command.
Two sons she had at home with her, both at mau's estate ; to the eldest of which her maid servant, not long before, had laid a bastard ; which infamy to smother up, proved expensive to them. The younger son, whose name was John Dell, hoping by the pillage of his honest neighbours, to regain what the incontinency of his lustful brother had mispent, listed himself in the service of his mother's new guests, to attend on them as their guide, and to inform them, (who were too much strangers to pretend to know the names of any of the persons there) whom they should inform against.
Thus consorted, thus in a triple league confederated, on the 24th day of the fifth month, commonly called July, in the year 1670, they appeared openly, and began to act their intended tragedy upon the Quakers' meeting, at the place aforesaid; to which I belonged, and at which I was present. Here the chief actor, Poulter, behaved himself with such impetuous
violence and brutish rudeness, as gave occa. sion for enquiry, who, or what he was.
And being soon discovered to be the Trepan, so infamous and abhorred by all sober people, and afterwards daily detected of gross impieties, and even capital crimes, such as christening (so the common term is) of a cat in contempt of that practice which is used by many upon children, naming it Catharine-Catherina, in derision of the then Queen ; and the felonious taking of certain goods from one of Brainford, whom also he cheated of money. These things raising an out-cry in the country upon him, made him consult his own safety; and leaving his part to be acted by others, quitted the count. try as soon as he could.
He being gone, Satan soon supplied his place, by sending one Richard Aris, a broken ironmonger, of Wiccomb, to join with Lacy in this service; prompted thereto, in hopes that be might thereby repair his broken fortunes.
Of this new adventurer, this single character may serve, whereby the reader may make judgment of him, as of the lion by his paw; that at the sessions holden at Wiccomb, in October then last past, he was openly accused of having enticed one Harding, of the same town, to be his companion and associate in robbing on the highway, and proof offered to be given, that he had made bullets in order to that service; which charge, Harding himself, whom he had endeavoured to draw into that heinous wickedness, was ready in court to
prove upon oath, had not the prosecution been discountenanced and smothered.
Lacy, the cow-stealer, having thus got Aris (the intended highwayman) to be his comrade, they came, on the twenty-first of the month called August, 1670, to the meeting of the people called Quakers, where Lacy, with Poulter, had been a month before ; and taking for granted that the same who had been there before, were there then, they went to a justice of the peace called Sir Tho. mas Clayton, and swore at all adventure, against one Thomas Zachary and his wife, (whom Lacy understood to have been there the month before) that they were then present in that meeting: whereas, neither the said Thomas Zachary nor his wife were at that meet, ing; but were both of them at London, above twenty miles distant, all that day ; having been there sometime before and after. Which not. withstanding, upon this false oath of these false men, the justice laid fines upon the said Thomas Zachary, of ten pounds for his own offence, ten pounds for his wife's, and ten pounds for the offence of a pretended preacher, though indeed there was not any that preached at that meeting that day ; and issued forth his warrant to the officers of Beconsfield, where Thomas Zachary dwelt, for the levying of the same upon his goods.
I mention these things thus particularly, though not an immediate suffering of my own,